au·​toc·​ra·​cy | \ ȯ-ˈtä-krə-sē How to pronounce autocracy (audio) \
plural autocracies

Essential Meaning of autocracy

1 : a form of government in which a country is ruled by a person or group with total power
2 : a country that is ruled by a person or group with total power

Full Definition of autocracy

1 : the authority or rule of an autocrat
2 : government in which one person possesses unlimited power
3 : a community or state governed by autocracy

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Examples of autocracy in a Sentence

the Magna Carta is historically important because it signified the British rejection of autocracy and constituted the first formal restraining of the power of the monarch
Recent Examples on the Web Netanyahu is on trial for corruption, and in recent years, many Israelis had become alarmed by an accelerating slide into autocracy. Los Angeles Times, 14 June 2021 The book is more subtle than that, a confrontation with how U.S. decision-makers helped to create a world amenable to autocracy but also how autocratic stylings have been imported back into the United States. Washington Post, 11 June 2021 The entire world is in the midst of an epochal competition between democracy and autocracy, and democracy is losing ground. Frida Ghitis, CNN, 24 Sep. 2021 His familiar refrain that the world must choose between democracy and autocracy looks different now that the Taliban are again in control of Kabul, reversing many of the democratic gains of the past 20 years. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 22 Sep. 2021 There is a risk that the country could become a crypto-autocracy. Morgan Simon, Forbes, 7 Sep. 2021 But his critics accused him of a power grab, and the North African country’s overseas allies expressed concern that its young democracy might be descending again into autocracy. Bouazza Ben Bouazza, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 July 2021 But autocracy is on the march at the fastest rate since the 1930s, and unless Mr. Biden starts scoring some concrete wins, our adversaries’ progress will accelerate, no matter how many pointed communiqués democracies write. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, 14 June 2021 Biden has repeatedly said that a central challenge of this moment is whether democracy can prevail over autocracy, with those regional partnerships crucial to his efforts to counter China's growing influence. Betsy Klein, CNN, 3 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'autocracy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of autocracy

1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for autocracy

see autocrat

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Time Traveler for autocracy

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The first known use of autocracy was in 1659

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Dictionary Entries Near autocracy

auto court



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Statistics for autocracy

Last Updated

9 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Autocracy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on autocracy

Nglish: Translation of autocracy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of autocracy for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about autocracy


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